Two weeks have now sped by in my new life here in France and it’s starting to become a bit more normal. I feel that I have truly underestimated the power of feeling comfortable around others before I embarked on this journey. In this second week I felt myself being more relaxed in the Bourboulou household and feeling like I could actually make a connection with the members of the family. This newfound comfort has resulted in me acting more like, well, me. Therefore, this week was filled with much more laughter, bizarre jingles that I conjured from the depths of my mind, and jokes that probably made no sense but were amusing nevertheless.
Although this week was a more developed week in the rainbows and sunshine aspect, it also meant the reality of the situation is beginning to set in as well. We all know what it feels like to have it have genuinely bad day from beginning to end. As in you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and never seem to be able to turn that around. Well, I had one of those days this week and it straight up sucked. Some things you don’t really think about before you leave for your exchange is how isolated you will feel at times. For me, it still feels like most of my life is back in the United States. Everyone that truly knows me lives there, everyone that I truly know lives there. When you have a bad day at home, you’re surrounded by people that you’ve known forever and know exactly how to cheer you up. When you uproot your life and throw it across the ocean, you don’t have that same connection, especially not after being there for only two weeks. That day was pretty hard for me and left quite an impression. After talking to my good friend, Teresa, who is on a year long exchange in Italy with AFS, I learned that this was just the tippity-tippity-top of the iceberg and the real slough of bad days is yet to come. But, I do feel like having that bad day and surviving through it this early in the exchange was a good thing for me because now I kind of know what is yet to come and can mentally prepare myself for that.
Like I said, this was only one day of the week. The rest of it was pretty spectacular. Everyone at my school, students and teachers alike, are so incredibly kind to me and seem to genuinely care about my wellbeing. That type of appreciation is so underrated and sometimes does more for a person than what is just shown at the surface. My family here has also welcomed me with open arms and taken me in as one of their own. I am so very lucky to get to live in an environment with such caring people who have willingly accepted a foreigner as part of their family.
Something that I have noticed while being here is attitude is everything. Attitude is what makes people like you. Attitude is what makes you happy when in a less than pleasant situation. Attitude is what keeps you motivated and inspired and willing to do your best. I know you’ve probably heard it all before and maybe this just sounds super profound to me because I spend so much time in my own head over here, but I strongly advise you to take a closer look at your attitude when you’re in a bad mood or you begin blaming others for uncontrollable things. All it takes is one realization to change your day entirely.
If you keep staying interested in my experience abroad, continue to follow my blog and look for photos being posted on my Instagram (@acutler8) or on my Facebook page (Anna Cutler). I’m still just at the beginning of my experience here and so many things are yet to come. Just the thought of that has me wildly excited and scared out of my mind.
P.S. If you’re really into fancy, French fromage (cheese), I would highly recommend Brie. Honestly, that cheese has changed my life for the better and I can’t see to get enough.